Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tryptophan Tidings

Happy Thanksgiving to you, my dear readers.
I am currently sitting in the living room of my in-laws writing to you on my wife's laptop. Everyone is asleep except for me. Maybe that's why it's so quiet.
Yes, I am once again at my in-laws, despite the fact that I was promised I wouldn't have to be here.
However, unlike my
last trip, I am not physically able to fight back...though I did have to defend myself at dinner.
Let's start with my frustration.
When my son was born in June, my wife promised me that I would not have to go anywhere for this year's holidays.
"I promise," she told me, "that we will spend Christmas and Thanksgiving here in Minnesota." Awesome. That's what I wanted.
However, over the course of the last few weeks, the pressure has been laid on thick by the in-laws. The clincher? My wife's grandmother calls and explains that she, "is dying, and who knows when I can see my grandson again?"
My wife caved and agreed to bring Little Leab down to Missouri. She forgot, however, to check in with me. My protests fell on deaf ears as her parents, grandparents, et al were ready for Poozer and that was that.
Angry, I started driving yesterday at four. No problems until we hit Iowa. The small town of Mason City across the border is pretty much the only place you can stop to fill up until you get farther into the state (like Des Moines). When I got off the highway, it was packed full of cars. Instead of a quick fill up, I waited 30 minutes to fill up the car (I had to, I was empty).
The real fun started today.
My wife's grandmother who talked about dying kept calling me Eric. The problem? That's not my name. She also kept referring to me as, "Our Jew."
I kept my mouth shut through dinner as many of my in-laws used the term "nigger," but when it switched to politics, I was done for.
During the course of the week, I warned my wife I would be ambushed. She scoffed.
I was ambushed.
"It's the fault of Liberal teachers...not unlike my son-in-law...that our kids are dumber."
On and on it went. I got to hear about how the Democrats are destroying the country, and how only Bill O'Reilly can save us.
On and on it went.
Finally, after hearing that teachers aren't teaching kids what they need to know, I snapped.
"What are kids not learning that they need to?" I asked.
"Why we're in Iraq for one thing."
"Why would we talk about that in an English class? We want kids to be able to read and write, but we have so many problems because of YOUR NCLB," I responded.
On and on it went.
When it was over? My wife asked me to calm down. Did she defend me? No.
Then we went to the second dinner, which was at my wife's aunt and uncle's house.
This is where my wife's cousin and new baby would be. They were hyper competetive, which I didn't have the energy for.
"Well...Brayden is talking. He's sleeping through the night. He's fill in the blank for annoying comment."
"I don't care," I finally responded. "My son doesn't look like he's the product of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome."
A hush filled the room. My wife kicked me hard under the table.
It's just sad. I really hate the holiday season. My wife doesn't understand. I love my family, and they love me, but we don't feel the need to see each other around this time of year. My wife's family cannot deal if they don't put up the lights and tree and have all the food for Thanksgiving. My wife knows that my family doesn't do this, but she refuses to see why it makes me uncomfortable. We, of course, don't want to the see the foibles of our families, but they should not be ignored. The fact that some of her family talk about how much the problems of America are because of anyone not white is a problem.
I wish I was asleep like the rest of them.
I wish I actually liked this time of year.
I wish that my wife understood why I really don't like to make the drive down here.
I wish I was more tolerant of this.
Again, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your holiday is fantastically plain.

Monday, November 20, 2006

"You Jumped Out of the Ether"

Car accidents suck.
I take the same route to pick up my son. Because his daycare is in Maple Grove, I get on 494 and take it all the way around to 94.
Sounds easy right?
The only problem is traffic. By the time I reach Rockford Road, the speed drops to 2 MPH. That's not an exaggeration.
On the 9th, I got off to a late start to get my son. The crew and I worked late to try and get the set for the show ready.
Traveling north bound, I was in the left lane doing my lovely 2 MPH. Suddenly, there was the screech of tires. Before I knew it, the screech got closer, the car rocked forward, and my head snapped back.
I was hit.
With quick reflexes (I was lucky), I grabbed my emergency brake. Didn't matter; the person who hit me pushed forward into the car in front of me.
Guy behind me: front end damage
Woman in front of me: slight (and I do mean slight) damage to spare tire cover
My car: front AND rear damage
Suffice to say, I was unhappy. Still, much like my last car accident, I was the first out of my car. I walked to the guy behind me.
"Are you all right?" I asked.
He stared at me sheepishly. "Yes. You?"
"Depends on how much money you have," I said.
"What?" he replied.
"I'm fine, but you hit me. I'll need your insurance info. I'm going to check on the woman you pushed me into."
With that, I walked to the other car.
"Are you all right?" I asked.
"My car!" the woman screamed. "Look what you did to my car!"
I had no idea what the woman was pointing at and why she was screaming. I stepped closer.
I found a small scratch on the top side of her spare tire cover. It was nothing compared to the tire imprint on the front of my car.
She continued to freak out.
"Ma'am? I'll need your insurance," I said.
At this point, I walked back to my car to get my insurance.
There's something funny about a group car accident in how people react with one another. If it's one person's fault, that person will have a hard time looking in the eyes of everyone else.
In this case, the guy who hit me kept his eyes either looking straight up or looking straight down.
"Do we need to call the cops?" I asked.
"No," the woman said.
"No one's hurt, right?" the guy interjected.
"Plus," the woman added, "It's rush hour. I don't want to be here for another hour."
It was agreed. No cops.
I tried to call my wife, but couldn't get through.
The worst part wasn't the car accident or the fact that my neck was hurting. It was knowing that I was going to be very late to pick up my son.
"I just can't believe it," the guy kept saying. "You jumped out of the ether. I never saw you."
It was such a strange description. To jump out of the ether. The truth, he would admit later to the insurance company, was that he was on his cell phone and wasn't paying attention. He was in the middle lane and almost hit a car there. While talking to the person on the phone and looking over at the car he almost hit, he looked back to see mine and started to break, but it was too late.
$3,500 worth of damage to my car later, I'm riding around in a rental car sans truck (which would have helped in transporting wood for building platforms.
The kicker? The guy who hit me is a born and bred Minnesotan. You can talk all you want about how the bad drivers here are not from the state, but it was the Minnesotan who hit me...not the other way around.
Of course, that would only be my first car accident of that week. The second would come on the following Saturday...but that's a story for another time.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Crawling Out of Purgatory

"Where the blue blazes you been, Leab?"

Here's the deal:
the last two weeks have been difficult.

"Why? Writing isn't that hard!"

Ok, I was in two car accidents.
The first had a man rear-ending my car.
The second was my neighbor hitting me. Not my car, me.

"Ok...that's a start. What else?"

All righty then. My "Hell Week" came and went. That's a term for tech week of a show.
I also got very sick, dealt with my sick wife and son, AND have been putting out fires left and right.
Oh yeah...and I voted and had to deal with a guy almost stepping on my son.
Oh, and I have to leave in two days and drive to Kansas City to see my in-laws for the holiday. Why? Because my wife's memory is terrible.

And I missed the party, which I'm not happy about, thank you very much.
On the bright side, I have plenty of stories, including something I hate more than modern movie attendance (trust me, Tom).

"Is that all?"

No, I've also been trying to keep up with my grades as the end of the trimester comes up.

"Well, there's no need to be unprofessional."

I hate you disembodied voice. I hate you so much.

"That's what I'm here for."

Whatever....I'll post more when I can.